Happy Birthday Norman Lear: Celebrating the TV Pioneer on His 99th

by Katie Maloney

Happy 99th Birthday, Norman Lear!

This isn’t your everyday birthday. It’s a pretty big deal when someone is almost a full century old. So, today we celebrate Norman Lear and his 99th trip around the sun. And what better way to celebrate than to reflect on some of his greatest career moments?

First off, we have to talk about some of Lear’s accomplishments. The man has earned countless Emmys, a Peabody award, and a Kennedy Center Award. He was also responsible for over half of the top 10 shows on the air at one time. Additionally, he worked on one of the top 20 most-watched television episodes of all time. But all awards aside, Lear was a pioneer in television. Lear constantly pushed the limits as to what you can and cannot say on television. All of his shows tackled American culture and social issues. And Lear was never afraid to include taboo subjects on his shows. Regardless of what you thought about his shows, they were always thought-provoking and great conversation starters.

What Career Moment Is Norman Lear Most Proud Of?

As a writer, director, and producer, there wasn’t a whole lot Norman Lear couldn’t do when it came to show business. Some of the most popular shows that Lear had a hand in creating include “Sanford and Son”, “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman“, “Maude”, “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons.” But even with all of that success, Lear is adamant about giving credit to all the people who contributed to his success. During a recent interview, Norman Lear talked about what career moment he’s most proud of. And his answer is everything.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the people who I found along the way. Because life is a collaboration and television is the collaboration of collaborations,” said Lear. “I worked with a great many people…Without whom there wouldn’t be the kind of activity we’re enjoying today. All along the way, there have been a couple of dozen fabulous writers and producers. And then the performers.”

And 99-years old, Norman Lear is remarkably not slowing down. In fact, he’s currently working on a “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” reboot. There isn’t a whole lot of information about the upcoming series as it was only just recently announced. But, according to the IMDB page, Mary Hartman will be played by “Schitt’s Creek” actor Emily Hampshire.

How Is Norman Spending His 99th Birthday?

So how does an (almost) century-old Hollywood legend spend his 99th birthday? Lear shared his plans during a recent interview. He said that he’ll be spending the day with his family on their farm in Vermont.

“I’m on a plane tomorrow morning for our home in Vermont with all my kids and grandkids, which will take place at a farm we’ve owned for 35 years or so,” said Lear. “It was originally [poet] Robert Frost’s farm.”